McNeill: It’s time to address the fireworks issue

HARRISBURG, March 25 – State Reps. Jeanne McNeill and Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, have introduced a bill that would repeal Pennsylvania’s law allowing residents to purchase and set off powerful fireworks.

Co-sponsored by state Reps. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, Steve Samuelson and Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, and Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, the bill would address growing complaints of inappropriate fireworks usage that have been rampant across Pennsylvania.

"Last summer, as noted by conversations I had with many residents throughout Lehigh County, it seemed as though the COVID pandemic produced an uptick in pyrotechnic use,” McNeill said. “This increased nighttime activity added to the stresses in our communities: upsetting pets, depriving many from sleep, negatively impacting our veterans with PTSD and, in our cities, posing a safety issue. One resident described it as living in a 'war zone'. And, as the Memorial Day weekend draws closer, followed by the July Fourth holiday, so too will the inevitable calls and complaints to my office about fireworks activity.”

According to McNeill, H.B. 988 would repeal the most recent changes made to the fireworks law and reinstate the provisions as they existed before Act 43. It would not prohibit Pennsylvanians from using novelty fireworks or enjoying fireworks shows in their community to celebrate the Fourth of July or other holidays and special events.

“This goes beyond the borders of Allentown,” Schweyer said. “Many of my colleagues in the House from Philadelphia to Easton and Pittsburgh to Erie have all shared similar fireworks problems in their communities. It is time again to address this problem. This legislation would repeal the most recent changes made to the fireworks law and would provide all municipalities more power to enforce the law and help restore quality of life back to city residents.”

“I’m calling on my colleagues to run this bill so that it can be voted on,” McNeill said. “It’s clear this issue must be address now.”

McNeill said the bill was referred to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee for further consideration.